“Multitudes who sleep in the dust of the earth will awake: some to everlasting life, others to shame and everlasting contempt. Those who are wise will shine like the brightness of the heavens” [Daniel 12:2-3].
Among the final words in the book of Daniel is his statement of faith in the resurrection. His words are a comfort to all who believe in the One who gave his life to give life to all.
Daniel lived in a pagan society. The Babylonians and Persians believed the physical world was inferior. The concept of a physical resurrection was foreign to them.
Among the world’s religions, there is notable disagreement on what happens after death. Christians know and believe that Christ will literally raise us from the dead. We will be physical beings, not clouds or spirits. This makes Christianity distinct.
Our world fights against Christ’s teaching of a physical resurrection. Many non-Christians believe that resurrection from the dead is either ridiculous or unneeded. Recently, one state passed a law allowing “human composition” as a means for disposing of human remains. This method considers the lifeless body to be “soil” that is placed back into the ground. On the surface, this appears harmless. However, behind it is the belief that we are “accidents,” the product of evolution. As such, many see death as nothing more than a natural end. By dying, the human body eternally returns to nature.
Genesis 3 tells us that death is the unnatural consequence of sin. However, Christians also know and believe that Christ destroyed sin and death. Some day, he will raise our bodies without sin and its effects.
There is nothing wrong with traditional ways of handling human remains after death. What matters is what we believe. Even in death, we glorify God. The ground may temporarily hold our remains. But Jesus will return to call us once more to take on flesh and rise to eternal life.
God preserve us all in the one true faith so that one day we will “shine like the brightness of the heavens.”